As our car pulled into the driveway at Auberge Le Baluchon, I could see the pair of draft horses and their driver waiting to take us on a carriage tour of the property. I was chomping at the bit to see this 192 acre property in Québec, Canada. With its unique landscape, situated on an archipelago of eight islands, forestland and waterfalls, this was a great place for a horseback riding vacation.
Our Palfrenier Lionel, that’s the French word for wrangler, was dressed in his uniform of boots, pants, a shirt and vest with horses running through the pattern and a French cowboy hat. He was clearly proud of the 40 horses on property and the wonderful scenery that Auberge Le Baluchon had to offer.
We were a small band of journalists from across the United States and Canada here to discover authentic Québec and all it had to offer; from Nordic baths to gourmet cuisine and outdoor adventure. Our visit was timed with the fall leaves at the height of their peek. I was fortunate to have found a property in the region of Mauricie that offered a horseback riding holiday.
Horseback Riding Vacation at Le Baluchon
Before our arrival, I wondered if I would be riding with English or Western tack. Turns out Le Baluchon uses Western saddles. I noticed that one of the saddles had a cutting horse championship stamped on the fender of the saddle. Lionel informed me that there are plenty of cowboys who love to rodeo in Mauricie. I also learned that this area offers ski joring in the winter time – a crazy new sport combining skis and horses.
While my friends enjoyed massages and the Nordic spa experience, I got to explore Auberge Le Baluchon from the back of a horse. My guide, Lionel, had been around horses since he was a toddler, so he was happy to talk horses with me and explain the origin of the Canadian horse. His mount was a fine example of the stocky breed, while I rode Amour, a palomino Quarter Horse who was happy to be out and about on the equestrian trails.
With miles of bridal paths, we rode by waterfalls and over bridges with the rushing water of Wolf River below. The horses have to be comfortable walking over bridges and passing hikers to be kept on at Auberge Le Baluchon.
The property offers one and two hour horseback rides, as well as an equestrian package that includes one night in a classic room, one full breakfast, one four-course dinner at the hotel (excellent food) and a one hour trail ride. Check the website for current rates and package deals.
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If You Go:
Auberge Le Baluchon 1 (800) 789-5968
3550 Chemin des Trembles
Saint-Paulin, Québec, Canada